Regulators turn attention to highway transporters of dangerous goods

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The trucking industry was under the microscope today at a hearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport into the safe transportation of dangerous goods by road.

The committee has until now been focusing on rail safety, in the wake of the 2013 Lac-Megantic tragedy involving the explosion of rail tanker cars carrying crude oil.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, Manitoba Trucking Association and the Teamsters all represented the trucking industry at the hearings. The CTA’s message was that the frequency of incidents involving truck transportation of dangerous goods is extremely low, at 1.64 incidents per 10,000 shipments, and usually minor.

“It is highly unlikely an incident of the magnitude of Lac-Megantic could occur where trucks are involved,” CTA chief David Bradley said. “Trucks are not in the business of moving crude oil over long distances to refineries; it’s simply uneconomical. And the amount of product shipped by truck in a single shipment is small compared to a train of tank cars.”

Industry advocates said trucking manages its transportation of dangerous goods in an effective and proactive manner.

CTA took the opportunity to push for safety measures to be introduced across the entire trucking industry, including a universal mandate for electronic logging devices and a requirement to adopt stability systems. CTA also called for greater enforcement of shipper responsibilities under TDG rules and would like to see the certification of individuals providing TDG training.

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, noted there is already a strong adherence by most carriers to safety management systems.

“With all the safeguards already in place, there is no need to regulate SMS’s in trucking,” he said. “Most carriers are already doing it.”

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